Monday, July 30, 2012

Thankful Monday

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom their is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 

It is so easy to get caught up in wanting, wishing, hoping for things, that we forget to be thankful for what we already have. In the midst of wanting some things I can't have right now, God shows me (yet again!) how much I already possess.

I am thankful for
a really great and icy Diet Coke on a tired, hot afternoon
my mother's cooking, after a few weeks of fast food and camp meals
and a big, soft bed that I don't have to share, in my own room, under a solid roof

I am thankful for 
that little moment of quiet under a bridge when driving through a storm
a running car that is dependable, that has great air conditioning
and the plastic that covers the light bulbs, separating me and the two wasps on the other side

I am thankful for
the ability to run, and a safe neighborhood to do so
the place I work, the co-workers I have that are mentors and encouragers in faith and in life
and the fact that I am not really in control of anything

I am thankful for
a big dinner table that we all sit around
the moments when my 10 year old nephew needs my help, reminding me that he isn't growing up as fast as it seems
and really great friendships that time doesn't stand a chance against

I am thankful for
Good, clean drinking water at my disposal
the book section in Goodwill
and the way the Bible is completely relevant in every situation

I am thankful for
Old acquaintances that have become good friends
New people in my life 
And lessons learned from ones that are no longer are a part

I am thankful for
how different people are
Needtobreathe music
and really great love stories that end exactly how I want them to

I am thankful for
Iced coffee when it's too hot for regular
the people I get to talk to on the phone at work each day
and the clouds, which have become a new fascination and reminder of God's unlimited resources

I am thankful for
my college
my education
and that I only have 14 hours left.

I am thankful for 
Sonic Happy Hour
Half price appetizers
and Aldi grocery stores, which seem to understand my budget.

I am thankful for 
the Sun, which brings a new day each morning
sleep, which is the ultimate clean slate,
and those days I get to lie in bed and catch up on my favorite shows.

I am thankful for
the good
the bad
and the beautiful, which seem to all be interlinked. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Faithful in the small things.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 Philippians 4:19 

There are a lot of things I love about Camp Electric

Of all the concerts, the jam sessions, and awesome instructors, my favorite thing about Camp Electric is that so many students come just for the music.

There’s not a camp out there like CE, so while a majority of our students are from Christian homes and already know of Jesus, a lot of our students don’t care about Jesus- they are just here for the music experience. Isn’t God great?!

What these non-believing students don’t understand is that God has given them the talent they possess. He’s given them a passion for music, and HE has brought them to Camp Electric. They are here for the music, but God has a much, much greater agenda. Here’s what I mean:

Yesterday, one of my awesome chaperones asked me to pray for a girl in her group. The chaperone (whom I’ll call chaperone) said,
            “I have a girl in my group. She doesn’t know Jesus. Her father is an atheist and her mother is an alcoholic, and she is lost, but this morning, in devotion, she asked our group to pray for her. She said she doesn’t know Jesus, but she wants to know him. I wanted to jump up and down, but I prayed with her instead.”

I told her that’s the point of Camp. I told her I’d pray for the girl, for her, for all the students here, and then we did just that. We prayed.

Not long after my chaperone meeting, a girl comes into the office. She was devastated because the strap had broken off her electric guitar. The guitar fell on the ground and broke. It was her Dad’s guitar. He was going to be so mad at her. We tried to calm her down, telling her it was something that could be fixed and at not too high a cost.  She left our office, not in tears, but certainly worried.

* * * *

For our nightly concert last night, TobyMac and the Diverse City band performed. (They are AWESOME, by the way). So in the middle of the concert, everything stops, and the lead guitarist gets on the mic. He says,
             “Today, I was walking to lunch and I hear someone scream my name. It was this girl who had broken her guitar in class that day. She was freaking out, didn’t know what to do. So here’s what we’re going to do…”

He called the girl on stage, the same girl who had been in my office that afternoon, and handed her the guitar he was playing. Just like that. It was a beautiful light blue electric guitar. He gave it to her. He gave this girl his guitar. The look on her face was priceless.

At that point, Chaperone runs over to me.
            “That’s the girl! That’s the girl in my group!”
            “Ah, that is so cool,” I say.“What a lucky girl!”
Chaperone says, “No, Jessica, that’s the girl that wants to know God. That’s the girl that wasn’t sure about him, that wants to know more about him. This afternoon she came to me and told me she had broken her guitar. She asked me what we could do about it. I told her we were going to pray that God would show her His faithfulness and bring her a new guitar. HE DID!!!”

This is the girl who we prayed for earlier that afternoon; the girl with the atheist dad, the alcoholic mom; the girl who wanted to know more about Jesus. She was afraid, unsure, and God proved his faithfulness to her. He showed her that He cares for her, that He loves her. That she belongs to Him. He showed her that even in her doubt, He is sure.

She gained a lot more than a new guitar at camp. God is good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My thoughts on a broken world.

Please never forget the graciousness of our Lord . Never forget His mercy , and the love He has for His children .

Please never forget that God is called our Father for a reason . He wants us to come to him as the children do for a reason. God wants our honesty, He wants our hopes , our dreams , our deepest desires . He wants to know what we yearn for , what we long to possess , and He wants to be the center of all of those things . Please never forget that God loves you,  but even more than that, God likes you . He wants you to be happy, to be prosperous, to grow strong in Him, bold in the faith, and He wants you to be untouched by this world .

Please never forget that, just like our earthly fathers, God sometimes tells us no .  He sometimes disciplines us , corrects us , and sometimes He even tests our knowledge and our strength .  Sometimes God allows us to go through things because He wants us to be prepared, to be ready, to be courageous .  He wants us to understand the weight of our calling as a Christian ,  he wants us to understand the freedom we have in Him .

Please never forget that God is perfect , and part of His perfection is free will- allowing us to choose whether or not we want to love Him ,  serve Him , be His .  He leaves this choice to us because our God is not forceful .  He will fight for us, but after time and time again of our constant rebellion ,  God will give us over to our desires . This is where evil comes in .  Please never forget that God is perfect, and in his perfection, he allows us to choose for ourselves .  For this reason , man often makes the wrong choice, and bad things happen . For this reason ,  evil sweeps the world -  our own selfishness ,  our own hurt ,  or own pride cause our own destruction .  God does not cause bad things to happen ,  but he allows us to make decisions ,  and unfortunately ,  human are sinful by nature .  Please never forget God is good and perfect and anything not good and perfect is from this world and sin, not from God.

Please never forget that God does not need us .  His plan will prevail, His will is carried out with or without us .  The devil though, he needs us .  Satan’s plans cannot be carried out unless we decide to allow him to use us .  Please remember taking up your cross is a DAILY sacrifice, discipline, a choice NOT to follow the world , NOT to be used by Satan.

Please never forget that God uses ALL things- big or small .  His voice is often quiet, and we do not find things we are not looking for.  Please remember that prayer is the most important and the strongest weapon we have .  Please remember that God hears our prayers ,  our cries . He’s strong enough for us.  He’s waiting for us.

Please never forget that God does not care about your past. He just wants to be your future . Please never doubt that God will take care of you .  

Please never forget that He promised to NEVER leave OR forsake you, and God ALWAYS makes good on his promises.